"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Dirty Pictures–History, Maleness, And Feminist Outrage

The owner of the Washington Redskins football team is being run through a gantlet for having made ‘lewd, inappropriate, salacious, and demeaning’ comments about the team’s cheerleaders.  Why are Snyder’s comments or reactions to them surprising?  He made the comments in a pre-feminist age in which men joked about, fantasized about, dreamed about and especially talked about sex with women. The Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders were the reason why even he most indifferent football fan watched football.  They were blonde, blue-eyed, impossibly fruity and delectable, and there for a purpose. Men have always been turned on by attractive, sexually alluring women.

Image result for marilyn monroe sexy in bed

Yet in today’s outraged, censorious, female-dominant culture, such reaction can only be perceived as misogynist, retrograde, and sexually immature.  Who but a backwoods cracker could possibly look on a scantily-clad, young, enticing female body and think only of sex?  Men, say feminists, have not evolved beyond the cave, beyond ‘Me Tarzan, You Jane’ sexual primitivism.

They are wrong of course.  Women still dress in the most sexually provocative, enticing, alluring ways and men still respond as they always have.  Woke women deny fundamental sexual dynamics, express their right to express their femininity in the most overt, sensual ways, and expect men to act as though they were looking at a plate of ham and eggs. 

In a prestigious Washington K Street office, young women had taken this feminist manifesto to heart.  They wore the most revealing, low-cut, sleeveless, frilly, sexy outfits to Division meetings.  The men who sat opposite them could think of nothing else but their bodices, their décolleté, their short skirts, and perfume  They fumbled at the Director’s questions about rates of return and financial options, bumbled when asked to recount the events of the last quarter, and jumbled facts and fiction, all because of the marvelous breasts, warm inviting lips, and sleek, toned legs before them.  

“It’s your problem”, the women said. If you can’t keep your eyes on the company’s prize, the fault is yours.  We women can wear whatever we want.

Image result for images young attractive decollete office worker

The CEO of the company, a middle aged man with a trophy wife and many lovers, and who understood the difference between men and women and the distinction between private and public spaces, disagreed.  There was business and there was pleasure, and if women wanted to play pussy and booty, they would have to do it on their own time.  

“Henceforth”, the CEO wrote in his address to his employees, “all members of the Chemfield Team shall dress appropriately and dutifully represent the solemn, serious, and principled nature of our mission to help others”.

No sooner had Mr. Dortmund circulated his position paper, that buttons were buttoned, skirts lengthened, perfume discontinued, eye liner and eye shadow left behind, and heels replaced by practical footwear.  In one fell swoop, he restored sensibility to the workplace.  He had admitted that women were dressing provocatively to attract men – despite their feminist disclaimers and insistence that they were wearing transparency only for themselves – and more contentiously he had stated that a sexually and invitingly-dressed woman would always attract the attention of healthy males.  The workplace demanded compliance on the part of women first.  Men reacted, did not initiate.

The hue and cry from women was loud and insistent.  The CEO had spoken out against the received wisdom that men are always the aggressors, the perpetrators, and the abusers; and that women are always and undeniably the innocent victims.

Yet the CEO did not retreat. If a woman dresses demurely, the CEO explained, then the problem is solved.  Finance, corporate balance sheets, proposals, and political positioning can go on as normal.  If she dresses like a floozy  (he of course chose his words a bit more carefully, but his intent was clear), it cannot.

Image result for images beautiful muslim women headscarf

The politically correct feminist ethos of the day denies this principle, and extends its culpatory reach to wherever men congregate.  Any comment interpreted to be derogatory about women, statements other than those expressing admiration for women’s intellectual, creative, and academic achievements, will be considered libelous and grounds for dismissal.

Yet men in locker rooms have always talked dirty. After showers, these same men go out with their girlfriends and treat  them well and with respect,  It was demeaning, they said, to assume that male sexual desire – perhaps crude and untoward in the locker room – was all there was about heterosexual relationships. Savvy men knew when it was time for pussy, and when it was time for candy and roses.

The most ignorant policy promoted by woke complaisant university administrators is the ‘No means No’ rule.  A woman has only to say 'No' once, tentatively, indifferently, hesitantly to a man’s advances, and every subsequent action on his part is rape.

One does not have to read through many volumes of literature to find examples of men’s frustrated pursuit of women.  A woman’s ‘no’ has always been part of her allure, ‘playing hard to get’ was part of an elaborate pas de deux, a mating dance of sexual demurral, passion, and conquest. A woman’s currency was her honor and her chastity. Her marriage might be arranged and her final worth a matter of dowry, family name, and ancestry; but the ballet was still her way of testing the interest and resolve of her suitors, exciting them with her demure sexuality, and promising much more.

Shakespeare’s Comedies are all about men chasing women and the ways in which the smarter, wittier, and more able ladies ran rings around them. Rosalind (As You Like It) knows that men are only after one thing, stumble and fall over themselves to get it, and make fools of themselves trying,

Image result for images helen mirren as rosalind

Yet Rosalind, Beatrice, Viola, and many other of Shakespeare’s savvy women are eventually softened and receptive. Portia (The Merchant of Venice) jokes with her minions at the expense of the many wealthy suitors who must solve the riddle of the ‘caskets’. One is laughably pretentious, the other clueless, the other fey and unserious.  They all want the beautiful and wealthy heiress, and she is having none of it – until the man of her dreams comes calling.


Thomas Marvell’s (1621-78) To His Coy Mistress is perhaps the most well-known poem about a lover’s pursuit of the woman he loves:

Had we but world enough, and time,
This coyness, Lady, were no crime.
We would sit down and think which way
To walk and pass our long love’s day….
I would love you ten years before the Flood,
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews…
But at my back I always hear
Time’s wingèd chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
Thy beauty shall no more be found,
Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
My echoing song: then worms shall try
That long preserved virginity,
And your quaint honour turn to dust,
And into ashes all my lust:
The grave’s a fine and private place,
But none, I think, do there embrace…

Image result for images thomas marvell poet

No’ was expected by these knights and troubadours; and despite their sexual ambitions respected women’s chastity.  If a woman gave herself too easily, then she must have given herself to others and would be no more than a courtesan and unworthy of marriage. Her reticence was a sign of value and her resistance one of moral and social resolve.

It was no surprise, then, that sexual games were played so elaborately. The hijinks of Shakespeare’s comedies were no more than metaphors for the necessary mating rituals of everyone who had a stake in marriage. The fanciful scenes of  All’s Well That Ends Well or Love’s Labor Lost play out prescribed sexual roles according to which women piqued men’s desire but did not give in to it; and men pursued women to the point of silliness but could never have them.

So the current crisis about rape is a mystery. What has happened to the beautiful game? Have men forgotten that women have not changed and still respond to respect, male confidence, and sexual interest? Have women read only half of the new sexual charter and not bothered with the part about sexual maturity and responsibility? Have men gotten caught between the sexual expectations of a libertine age and the new authority of women?

It is surprising to me that men need to be told “No means no”. Of course it does, and is expected in any relationship; but as true and honest a declaration it may be at one moment, a firm ‘No’ may turn into a warm ‘Yes’.  That’s how the game of mutual conquest is played – figuring out just when ‘No’ becomes ‘Yes’.  There are no absolutes in sexual gaming as any sexually successful man – or woman – knows.

Image result for images no means no

Intelligence and sophistication may be at the heart of the issue.  There are many thirty-somethings who have courted, dated, and mated with no less romance and love than any troubadour or well-born lady.  They have understood that romantic engagement is only sexual at its most base and primitive.

The most successful love affair in all of Shakespeare – and he was no fan of marriage or romance – was that between Kate and Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew. Kate in the first act is indeed a shrew and a vixen, but in the course of the play is ‘tamed’. Yet Shakespeare was not writing about abusive male patriarchy but mutual conquest.  Kate needed Petruchio’s confident sexuality and respect; and Petruchio finally found a woman with energy, wit, intelligence, and passion. Sex was the least of it.

Like everything else in today’s politically correct, hyper-sensitive, cancel culture, human nature is ignored in favor of social idealism.  It matters not that men and women have acted a certain way for millennia.  It is only important how they act in the future.  Genetics, sexual expectations, gender history are irrelevant.

The received wisdom of the day is that nothing is permanent, set in stone, ineluctable.  To admit that human nature hasn’t changed since the dawn of humanity, and that its expressions of self-interest, territorialism, aggression, and defensive perimeters are permanent would be to undermine progressivism itself. Everything is subject to change, and everything must be changed for a better, more just, favorable world to happen.  

The male-female sexual dynamic, never doubted and limned by artists from Socrates to D.H. Lawrence will have salience and relevance until human DNA is altered and recombined. Until then men will always talk dirty and women will always take umbrage but love the bad boy, the confident Casanova.

Plus ca change….

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